Can you imagine living in a world where one of your PC devices is missing RGB lights? Terrifying, I know. Thankfully, Seagate has now released a Thunderbolt 3 4TB HDD / SSD-capable storage dock, complete with every port you could ever need, with a dash of RGB for good measure.
Here's a look at the Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock, which adds every feature missing from your laptop.
All the storage
Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock
Bottom line: The Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock does exactly what it says, giving you heaps of additional storage space, complete with an NVMe expansion option, with piles of additional ports. For those who work from a dedicated laptop and want to store large files on an external device that can also provide additional ports for everything from displays to additional Thunderbolt accessories, this is a truly great option.
- Huge amount of ports, ideal for creators and other types of consumer
- Huge storage capacity, with NVMe expansion option
- Looks great, lines up well with other major gaming brands, like Razer
- RGB. RGB. RGB. RGB.
- Given the price, SD card slots would have been welcomed
- HDD and fan are noisy
Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock What I loved
The Firecuda Gaming Dock is an impressive-looking device, with a unique grill cap at one end. At this cap is where the NVMe connector is housed, complete with Razer Synapse-compatible RGB lights. The RGBs can be controlled using the Seagate Toolkit app for PC or Mac, which gives a decent range of lighting styles across millions of color options. As soon as I hooked it up, my Razer Synapse app detected it and synced the lighting across all of my other Razer Chroma products.
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 (data)
- DisplayPort 1.4
- 4x USB 3.1 ports
- 1x USB 3.1 with power
- Ethernet port
- 3.5 mm audio-in/mic port
- 3.5 mm audio-out port
The Firecuda Gaming Dock is powered via a dedicated power supply, but Seagate doesn't recommend you use its Thunderbolt 3 ports to feed power through to a laptop. Although you can charge accessories, the 15W supply isn't enough to charge laptops and things that require a bit more juice.
The Thunderbolt 3 cable supplied in the box will keep the Firecuda dock powered for accessories and lighting, even if you power off the HDD storage unit itself. It's good that you have the option to turn off the HDD when it's not in use, not only to save on power but because, naturally, it does emit sound.
The dock naturally has a good weight to it, ideal for keeping the station in place even when there are several other devices plugged into it. Every port is also nicely labeled, so there's no guess work as to what each individual port does, since some support power and others don't, for example. Additionally, many of the cheaper docks I've used like this have an annoying tendency to just drop power or disconnect randomly at times. But after several days, the Firecuda Gaming Dock hasn't let me down once, as though it was simply another part of my main laptop.
The HDD is a 7200 RPM model, which is about as fast as you can get for a mechanical HDD these days. Transferring 20 GB of video files between the HDD and my internal NVMe over the Thunderbolt 3 cable was decently fast, taking around 20-30 seconds at a sustained 240 MB/s transfer rate. For gaming and archival storage, I'd say this is more than adequate, and if you want more speed, you always have the option of adding in an M.2 NVMe drive for good measure.
Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock What I didn't love
The Firecuda Gaming Dock isn't cheap, priced at $300 as of writing on Amazon, and that's as part of a sale. Considering what the product is, you're getting a lot of features in one package. It's with that in mind that it becomes a bit maddening that there's no SD card treatment — literally a slot away from the ultimate Swiss army knife of Thunderbolt docking stations.
After using laptops with SSDs for the past few years, I've grown wholly accustomed to the idea of silent tech. Naturally, since the Firecuda Gaming Dock is a 4TB HDD, it makes those classic clicking sounds, alongside fan noise designed to keep the system cool. It's not a huge deal, and it's by no means loud, but it is something to be aware of if you're accustomed to the silence from some of the laptops and ultrabooks this product is clearly taking aim at. All in all, though, these are minor gripes. You can easily add an SD card slot using a cheap USB to SD card dongle, and if the noise gets bothersome, the option to turn off the drive when it's not in use is always there.
Seagate Firecuda Gaming Dock Should you buy it?
Every device I tested with it worked as expected, the dock looks great, with a tidy design and solid lighting integration with Razer chroma and Seagate's own platform.
The 4TB (3.6 TB usable) is speedy for an old-school mechanical solution and quiet enough that it won't be a bother. Plus, you can turn off the drive whenever it's not in use with a handy front-facing button.
I would've liked to have seen an SD card slot to really make this an "all in one" knock-out dock to rule the land of docks, but it's not a huge deal. If you're looking for a reliable Thunderbolt 3 dock to compliment a laptop that also comes with piles of storage and consistent connectivity, the Firecuda Gaming Dock is easily the best, most reliable docking station I've ever used. It'll easily sail into our round-up of best external HDDs for PC as well.
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